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Majestic Princess Cruise Ship Scorecard Review (2023)


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As one of the first ships to return to service in Alaska after the cruise pause in July 2021, of course, we were on the Majestic Princess inaugural cruise. Flash forward two years later, we returned to the ship for another trip way up north. This time, we took a one-way sailing from Whittier, Alaska to Vancouver, BC. What is it like sailing on this ship’s Voyage of the Glaciers cruise in 2023? We are back and share all the details with you in this Majestic Princess cruise ship scorecard review!

Debuting in 2017, this 144K gross ton cruise ship spent her first few years sailing in East Asia and Australia. Majestic Princess was originally scheduled to make her North American debut in Fall 2021. Instead, Princess Cruises launched Majestic Princess as its first vessel back to service following the cruise shutdown, sailing 7-night Alaska cruises from Seattle. Given the ship’s past, it does still retain some Asian-influence. This makes her a bit unique from her other sisters in the Royal Class.

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We Just Returned from an Alaska Cruise on Majestic Princess

Main Dining Room

We were eager to sail Princess Cruises in Alaska again because of the new programming for the 2023 Alaska season. Overall, this main dining room experience was much better than our cruise two years ago, in terms of both the food quality and preparation.

Princess Cruises has enhanced its menu with additional Local Eats Alaska Flavors, featuring locally sourced dishes on each night’s MDR menu. Of these new offerings, I enjoyed the Bering Seafood Stew, Alaskan Ale-Braised Short Ribs, and Sockeye Salmon. Other notable entrées on the menu during our 7-day cruise included Crackling Pork Belly and Fettuccine Alfredo.

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Starter selections included a crab cake, several different salads and soups, and nightly offerings of shrimp cocktail and Caesar salad. However, unlike other cruise lines eliminating menu options, Princess Cruises continues to feature “Favorites” starters, entrees, and desserts every night of the cruise. This is perfect for Heidi who likes having these classic dishes as a default.

The dessert menu featured plenty of sweet concoctions including a different cheesecake flavor each night, like the Carmel Pecan Turtle or Lemon Meringue cheesecake. While we often criticize cheesecake on cruise ships, I enjoyed several offerings this cruise. Heidi also enjoyed that Baked Alaska was on the menu every night.

With Princess Cruises’ “Dine My Way”, guests have the flexibility to dine whenever and wherever they want. We opted to dine between 6:20 and 6:40 PM most evenings. Before the cruise, we pre-booked these reservations. Checking in at all the venues was easy, and we were quickly escorted to a table for two. Service in the MDR was what we have come to expect on a cruise, with the three-course meals taking about 90 minutes.

Specialty Dining

Another new addition to the restaurant line-up since we last sailed on Majestic Princess is The Catch by Rudi. This new seafood-centric specialty restaurant from renowned chef Rudi Sodamin feels right at home on an Alaskan itinerary. This new concept replaces the former Bistro Sur La Mer. While the décor of the venue hasn’t changed much, the new menu and dishes certainly exceed the previous restaurant. If you have sailed on Holland America Line, The Catch is very reminiscent of Rud’s Sel de Mer.

The surf and turf, along with the lobster and shrimp appetizers, were fresh and flavorful. Heidi enjoyed her cheese plate and her pasta with little necks as well. These dishes are all made-to-order and were certainly a step above those served in the main dining room. Finally, the signature Mozart’s Berry Composition (Salzburger Nockerl) and the Chantilly Lace (profiteroles) were the perfect ending to this decadent meal.

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While The Catch is our new favorite Princess specialty restaurant, we also tested out the other two specialty restaurants. The cruise line’s signature steakhouse, Crown Grill, served up a bubbling Black and Blue Onion Soup and a tender, juicy ribeye steak. Plus, we both agree that the Salted Caramel Crème Brulee Cheesecake is one of the best desserts on the ship.

A holdover from Majestic Princess’s time in Asia, Harmony is the third specialty restaurant on this ship, instead of Sabatini’s. This Chinese restaurant is a unique alternative to the two other venues. We tested several menu items here, with selections like the Shrimp Spring Rolls and Kung Pao Chicken resembling the take-out classics back on land. Our server, Dino, was among the best waitstaff on the entire ship. Further, the lighter fare and ability to sample a variety of plates made this one of our favorite dinners.

Casual Eats

For casual dining on Majestic Princess, we really enjoyed the International Café and Alfredo’s Pizzeria.

The International Café is a 24-hour snack venue and the resident coffee house. Along with fresh breakfast sandwiches and pastries in the morning, the venue offered a variety of sandwiches, cookies, and other treats throughout the day. For us, these offerings are far superior to other cruise ship cafes. With more unique options, like chicken pot pie or open-face sandwiches and fruit cups, these selections are perfect for a full meal or a quick snack. It was our go-to in the early mornings before heading ashore.

Of course, there is also the casual pizzeria, Alfredo’s. Still, this ranks as the best pizza at sea, even with new entrants like Virgin Voyages. A discovery for me on this trip was the calzone. This gigantic and doughy option is filled with ham and sauce and is perfect after a long morning ashore.

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Other options for casual eats were rather typical. These included the Burger and Lobster Gill, Chopsticks Noodle Bar, and the World Fresh Marketplace buffet. The Grill did not rise to the competition when compared to other counter service venues like the Dive-In Burger Bar on Holland America Line or Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival Cruise Line.

The World Fresh Marketplace offers a variety of dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are several international sections, like Indian, English pub, a taco stand, and a grill for lunch and dinner. Although, this large buffet area could be a lot easier to navigate. With cruisers aimlessly wandering, it made the area crowded and chaotic.

We only dined here for breakfast one day, and we were not impressed. So, we did not return for the remainder of the cruise.

Finally, for cruisers with the Princess Plus or Premier Packages, you will want to indulge in one (or more) of the premium desserts found on Deck 16 at the Swirls ice cream stand.

Daily Activities

Besides new Alaska food offerings in 2023, Princess Cruises has several Alaskan-themed activities and enrichment as part of its North to Alaska programming.

We particularly enjoyed the presentation by the Alaskan Iditarod winner, Libby Riddles, who gave an inspiring talk about her life and 1985 winning race. Cruisers could meet with her after the presentation for photos and book signings.

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Other onboard enrichment included a Tlingit native, Rachel Moreno, who spoke on the culture and indigenous people of the region. The onboard naturalist, Mark Harris, also offered several lectures during the cruise on whales, sharks, and wildlife. He was a passionate speaker, which added to the ship’s excitement.

Additionally, a Park Ranger was onboard for narration and a presentation in the theater during our sail through Glacier Bay National Park.

While Princess Cruises shines with its Alaska enrichment programming when compared to other contemporary cruise lines, its signature piazza parties lacked energy and enthusiasm. These shows usually consisted of one musical number from the ship’s singers and dancers, with the cruise director’s staff trying to get people up and dancing afterwards. Two such parties were the Love Boat Piazza Party and the Night at the Klondike. So, we wouldn’t schedule your night around these events.

Besides entertainment in the Piazza, Majestic Princess featured a pretty standard line-up of cruise activities. Between ports of call, guests could partake in various quizzes, trivia, competitions, and seminars. There were bingo sessions throughout the cruise and an interactive Deal or No Deal game show on the final sea day.

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In the evenings, the cruise director staff hosted game shows and activities in several venues, including the popular Princess Live on Deck 7. Classics like Yes or No and the Liar’s Club were entertaining and standing room only. The line’s unique Hollywood Hiccups shouldn’t be missed either. We do enjoy that there is a different activity here each evening giving cruisers more choices beyond the typical main theater productions.

The Cruise Director, Kevin, and his activities staff were visible and did a fabulous job hosting each day’s events.

Nighttime Entertainment

When it comes to other nighttime entertainment, the Princess Theater hosted a different show each evening with a 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM showtime. These included three signature productions as well as three headliner acts.

We agreed that Fantastic Journey was our favorite of the three signature productions. With contemporary pop music and use of digital technology, this show is the closet Princess Cruises offers to compete with the modern entertainment of rival cruise lines. However, we feel that Princess Cruises still needs to catch up to the likes of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line when it comes to entertainment.

The other signature productions included the Broadway-inspired Encore and the Motown classics of Sweet Soul Music. With average singing and choreography, these two performances felt like typical cruise revue shows.

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Headliner shows included the comedy magic of Reggie Rice on two evenings, the Mighty Quinn circus performer, and the comedy of Tony Daro. If you have cruised before, these acts are probably very similar to your past experiences.

Besides entertainment in the theater, there was also live music around the ship. Though, we would have liked a little more variety. The Zinger Trio, the ship’s house band, tended to perform in the Piazza in the evening. Cola Sounds were the acoustic guitar and singer duo which bounced around venues throughout the cruise. And, two piano players offered early and late sets in the Crown Bar Grill. Of these groups, we enjoyed Cola Sounds the most.

In terms of the Vista Lounge, we felt like it was used less this cruise than our previous Princess sailings. The comedian hosted a second show here one night, and the featured soprano singer performed her own separate show here too. However, it would have been great if this venue hosted more bands or late-night music instead of having the DJ in the piazza to close out each evening.

Pool Deck

Our luck with better-than-expected weather in Alaska continued during this shoulder season Alaska cruise. The temperatures hovered in the 50s and even crept up to the 60s with bright sunny afternoons. Still, we recommend you pack a bathing suit when sailing to Alaska. While a few brave souls were in the outdoor pools, the hot tubs throughout the Deck 16 lido deck were in demand.

One deck above, on Deck 17, this sun deck was a popular spot during our sail into Glacier Bay. There was plenty of sun, Alaskan-themed drinks, and even a Bloody Mary bar. So, who wouldn’t have enjoyed this outdoor time?

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Along with two main pools on Deck 16, there’s the indoor Hollywood pool forward on Deck 17. With its bar and plenty of loungers, any day is a pool day here. This solarium area is also home to the serene Hollywood Conservatory all the way forward. This venue is a great indoor observation space, especially for scenic cruising. In fact, it is the only public space with a forward view of the ship’s bow. It also hosted select events and was a quiet retreat to relax and escape the crowds.

Even with the ship sailing at about 90% capacity, the outdoor decks never seemed all that busy, even when the sun was out and the weather warmer than anticipated. This gave us plenty of space to dine al fresco or enjoy a cocktail while admiring the scenery after a day ashore in our ports of call.  

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Bars and Lounges

Majestic Princess offers a variety of bars and lounges. Although, most of them are minimally themed, and only a few provide signature cocktail menus.

Plus, with the OceanNow technology, cruisers can order drinks from an extensive list and have them delivered anywhere on the ship. So, cruisers can get essentially any drink they want at any bar by ordering through the app. 

Of the bars with specialty menus, Heidi and I bounced from Good Spirits on Deck 6 and the Crown Grill Bar on Deck 7. Along with an entertaining and informative mixology session, Good Spirits is home to tasty options like the Bangkok Mule, the Barbados Swizzler, and Key Lime Pie Martini.

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At the Crown Grill Bar, my go-to Sidecar and the wife’s Cosmopolitan were our regular orders. We often found ourselves returning to this bar to close out the evening with some espresso martinis as well, as it was one of the few venues open past 11 PM.

Other bars on Majestic Princess include the Piazza Bar and Vines wine bar on Deck 5 and Ocean Terrace on Deck 7. The former high-roller casino is now the Double Down Bar, with screens to watch your favorite sports game. This Deck 6 venue was open later but didn’t have entertainment like the Take Five jazz band on newer ships. Actually, it would be great to see Princess Cruises convert this venue into a sports bar or pub with live guitar music.

On the pool deck, the Fountain Pool Bar, Wake View Bar, SeaView Bar, and Hollywood Pool Bar had a select menu of cruiser favorites like the 24K gold margarita and the dirty banana.

While the venues might not be as elaborately adorned as other cruise lines, there were still a variety of bars to grab a pre or post-dinner drink. Needless to say, we never went thirsty during our busy Alaska cruise on Majestic Princess.

Stateroom

We were initially booked in a standard balcony cabin. Taking advantage of the Princess Upgrades, we scored a great deal on a Premium Deluxe Balcony.

Our stateroom, cabin D717, was aft on the starboard side of Deck 9. According to Princess Cruises’ website, the cabin had an interior space of 233 square feet, but the big draw here was the larger, oversized balcony and the seating area which does not come standard in a balcony cabin on Princess Cruises.

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Entering the cabin, our bed was immediately following the bathroom and closet, with the desk and sofa nearer the balcony. This cabin featured a large open closet with plenty of storage space for a week in Alaska. Besides the clothes bar, there was a small bank of shelves near the closet and two nightstands to store packing cubes, along with other clothing items and accessories.

We could unpack for the week comfortably with some of our cabin hacks like magnetic hooks and an over-the-door shoe organizer providing even more space. Unlike our previous room on Majestic Princess, this room did feature a love seat, which we find essential. This was across from the desk and a small cabinet with the mini-fridge.

Additionally, there were USB outlets on one side of the bed, and some power outlets on the desk, which we used to charge all of our gear.

When it comes to the bathroom, the space was small and still featured a shower curtain. Although, Princess Cruises did provide liquid hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel.

Given the stateroom’s location on the ship, our balcony extended further than other decks above us. This became a big bonus when sailing Glacier Bay, as we got amazing perspectives right from our balcony. It also allowed us to enjoy a balcony breakfast one morning of the cruise. This massive outdoor space was ideal for scenic cruising and for just relaxing and watching the landscapes.  

Service

With Majestic Princess sailing almost at capacity, we never felt the crowds. The hardworking crew did a fabulous job of accommodating cruisers throughout the ship.

In the mornings, there were short lines for coffee at the popular International Café. Still, I didn’t mind waiting a few minutes while Ecko made our usual lattes.  Similarly, cruisers could grab espresso-based drinks at the Princess Live Café with minimal queues.

In the bars and lounges at night, there were plenty of waitstaff making the rounds to take drink orders. We never waited more than a few minutes. Testing out OceanNow on a few occasions, our orders were delivered in about 10 minutes.

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With Dine My Way, we had different waiters for every dinner in the main dining room. Still, our three-course dinners were moderately paced, each taking about 90 minutes. While none of the servers stood out, they always addressed us by name and were friendly.

Service in the specialty restaurants was a bit more personal. Alvin in The Catch made sure to accommodate all our requests, even though this was our most extended dinner at over two hours. Michael in the Crown Grill and Dino in Harmony were equally cordial and attentive, making these up-charge venues feel more elegant and exclusive.

Further, our stateroom attendant, Ray, made it a point to introduce himself early in the cruise. While he did service our room twice a day, we hardly saw him. In fact, he stopped in on Day 4 to say hi, noting he hadn’t seen us since the start of the cruise.

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Overall Majestic Princess Cruise Ship Scorecard Review

One of the draws of this one-way Voyage of the Glaciers Alaska cruise was the itinerary. It gave us the opportunity to view both Hubbard Glacier (a first for us) and Glacier Bay. Plus, the cruise included extended stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Icy Strait Point. Luckily, with great weather, we could explore all these destinations beyond our scheduled shore excursions. Some of our shore excursion highlights were a helicopter ride and dog sledding on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and ziplining in Icy Strait Point.

Longer port times is definitely one of the benefits of a one-way cruise vs. a roundtrip sailing.

Additionally, Princess Cruises offers many other benefits when cruising to Alaska. Another is preferred docking locations when compared to other contemporary cruise lines.

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Back onboard, Majestic Princess offered a traditional cruise experience. The cruise ship featured various activities that catered to all types of travelers. There was a new show in the theater each night and several venues featuring live music. There were also game shows, trivia, and various other activities to keep cruisers occupied between ports of call. The North to Alaska programming also shines with its various enrichment presentations.

Dining onboard Majestic Princess was better than we recalled as well, especially in the main dining room with its new local dishes. The addition of The Catch by Rudi was also excellent.  Whether it was a casual dining spot for lunch or an upscale dinner, we always found something appetizing on the menu.

We also loved the Medallion technology. Having the cabin door unlock as we approached and not having to carry around a keycard were definite perks. With other app features, including the daily schedule and the ability to make reservations, planning each day was a breeze.

The cruise line’s new Princess Plus and Premier pricing is also an excellent value. We had the Princess Plus fare which included the Plus Drink Package, WiFi, gratuities, and other perks like two premium desserts and an unlimited juice bar.

Princess Cruises features several ships in Alaska, and Majestic Princess is just one of the choices. The ship is an excellent option for mega-ship enthusiasts who like variety but want a more relaxed onboard atmosphere without all the distractions found on some other lines. Majestic Princess let Alaska shine, making this one of our most memorable trips to the region.

Comments

Do you agree with our Majestic Princess Cruise Ship Scorecard Review? What features do you love about Princess Cruises? Drop us an anchor below to share your experiences cruising with this brand.

The post Majestic Princess Cruise Ship Scorecard Review (2023) appeared first on EatSleepCruise.com.

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